I spoke last week about our plan to go to an outdoor opera on the night of the summer solstice – the shortest night of the year. This beautiful event was held in the breathtaking grounds of Culford School and performed by The London Festival Opera. The combination of the stunning surroundings and a warm summer evening resulted in an night of opera treats that could only ever have been a success.
As this is primarily a gardening blog I am going to start by sharing with you some photos I took of the beautiful parkland that surrounds the school and stunning old Georgian house that is the main school building.
As you can see from the photos Culford School is in a very beautiful and historic setting. The faded grandeur of the old Georgian house and the immaculately kept parkland combine to make an unbeatably atmospheric setting for any event.
The opera itself was a joy. The London Festival Opera relished the surroundings, which would have been around when many of these pieces of old music were written. A variety of songs were performed from a selection of composers including Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Gilbert & Sullivan. The costumes were stunning! Taking photographs was difficult as we were sat towards the back of the crowd – I have had to crop extensively, hence some seem slightly blurry – I hope they will still give you a flavour of the evening we enjoyed.
The highlight of the evening for me was the performances by two ex pupils of Culford. Florence Taylor and Joseph Dodd were both at school with my daughters and were amongst a very talented group of pupils that treated us to many memorable performances of musicals and plays. Since leaving the school in 2011 both have continued to develop their musical skills. Seeing them not only performing with, but holding their own with the professional singers from the London Festival Opera brought more than a few tears to the eyes of those in the audience who remember them from their school days. Still only 21 years old this pair are set to go a long way!
After eating our picnics and listening to the music we were, of course, ready for a rousing sing along. Readers from abroad may not be aware of the effect that the giddy delight of the long days of June has upon the usually quite introverted British. More used to grey skies and dark days, the joys of eating and drinking into the long June evenings with friends and family has some rather unusual side effects. Somehow, in June, we cannot resist a bit of a patriotic sing along. So for the second time in less than a week, I found myself exercising my vocal chords and raising a glass to Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Brittania.
At the end of the evening all that was left was to finish our drinks and clear away the picnics.
Thank you to Culford School for hosting such a perfect summer evening – I hope that it is the first of many!
As we are just about to set off on our mini break to enjoy our eldest daughter’s graduation from Durham University this will be my last post for a few days. I will be back later in the week – hopefully with a few graduation scenes. Please keep your fingers crossed for us that we have a fine day.